This was my introduction to contemporary dance. The night started off with an interview with Rafael Bonachela and two of the stars of the show. To be honest, I’m thinking that the interview would have been better carried out after we had seen the show. When Philipa Hawker (The Age) asked the audience if we had questions for the director, the audience was at a loss for a while. I’m sure there would be plenty of questions once they had seen the show. On the other hand, it was good to gain some knowledge about the show prior to seeing it as I would have had no idea as to what to expect.
Contemporary dance is an infusion of classical ballet and modern dance. Dancers, even though they follow a choreographed routine, have a lot of creative freedom. The dance looks chaotic but there’s a lot of technical talent on display. At any given moment, dancers may all be doing their own routine then suddenly coming together in unison. This just about wraps up what I witnessed in Quintett (the first part of the show) and Frame of Mind.
Quintett is performed by five dancers. William Forsythe, the choreographer, created this piece as a a last love letter to his dying wife. The dance was performed to a haunting piece of music by Gavin Bryars – “Jesus Blood Never Failed Me”. There’s not a lot of lyrics to this tune which started off as a recording of a homeless man (in England) who was singing this brief religious stanza. The composer took the recording home and ended up overlaying a simple, yet rich, orchestral melody over the stanza to create an emotional looped piece of music. For 24 minutes the dancers honour Forsythe’s late wife and her courage when she was battling cancer, showing us how the body can portray different emotions through dance.
Frame Of Mind is brought to life under the artistic guidance of Rafael Bonecheli who made use of the whole dance company. All clad in black, the dancers explode onto stage to the intensity of Bryce Dessner’s choppy and climatic composition and maintain it for an impressive full half hour. Bonecheli’s masterpiece would best be described as ‘controlled chaos’. The stage is a room with a large window, which resembled a rustic dance studio, where light was alternated between day and night. The dancers were technically able and physically beautiful to watch. Some dancers did draw you in to their performance more than others.
The dancer’s dedication and love of their profession was evident throughout both pieces. Not ever having experienced contemporary dance previously, it was a pleasure to watch these professionals doing what they do best. If you love contemporary dance, you will be captivated by both Quintet and Frame of Mind.
After the show, we were provided with refreshments and the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the talented stars of the show upstairs at the theatre’s bar. With so many bloggers buzzing about the show, Frame of Mind and Quintett is sure to be a huge success.
Be quick … Frame of Mind is only in Melbourne until the 16th May 2015 – have a look here for pictures of the performance and tickets: Sydney Dance Company